Tuesday, 12 January 2016


My son grabbed the flaps on Where's Spot? (that literary classic) today, lifting them for the first time himself (lifting, yanking, potayto, potahto). I was so ridiculously proud and thought I should note it for posterity's sake, seeing as I haven't yet made him a baby book.  Does an obsessive recording of his wee person on my iPhone count? Perhaps I need some more blog-style narration of his young life. 

I don't know if W will ever read this -- his father doesn't.  I haven't read my mother's diaries from when I was a baby, though I know they exist.  It somehow seems too invasive. Despite this being a very public record, I feel much this same way about this blog.  Internet strangers? Sure, why not. Family? Not so much.

The little fink has just now demolished a pile of folded washing in time-honoured baby fashion - all the major milestones are being hit today, four days shy of six months!

I am now torturing myself with the question of work and what to do about it.  My year of parental leave is up on 1 May, but before I left they offered an extra couple of months of compassionate leave to see me through to W's first birthday, knowing that I was really departing because of Dad.  I expect I will take up the offer to stay at home until July, as I find it difficult to imagine being apart from him while he is still technically a baby.  

Actually, I'm torn on whether to go back to work at all.  On the plus side, my experience of being a stay at home Mum thus far is that it can be lonely and repetitive. Not always, but when it is like that it is tough. I like my colleagues at the office, I very much like aspects of my work, I like being challenged intellectually as a lawyer.  Yep, and I won't deny the funds would be handy as well. Particularly so should we decide to go ahead with the major renovation our home needs to comfortably house us once W is past the quite small stage. If I stay in my job at least another six months once I've returned, I'm owed a further lump sum parental pay out as part of my contract, which would be nice.

On the drawbacks side, our family life will be more difficult should I return to work.  I expect I'll be the 'default parent' doing the daycare pickups, running kid schedules etc because P is working towards partnership within the next 18 months, which requires a lot of work.  It's not that I mind being the default parent, it's that my job will always also be a little demanding. There are aspects of my job I don't love - stress, business development, discovery, tedious scheduling, court deadlines, admin and time recording (fuck me, time recording! Haaaaaaaate.). If I don't go back or stay for a further six months we need to pay back the lump sum parental leave payment I received pursuant to my contract, which would suck. 

There's also the hard to quantify elements.  I love being with the Fink and being his No. 1 caregiver.  I assume I'll still feel this way in six months' time, but there's no guarantees (I expect caring for a toddler is a different kettle of fish from caring for a baby).  I have also considered whether there might be another role for me elsewhere, better suited to my temperament and strengths and more family friendly.   Most of the answers I have come up with require a move to Wellington and the centre of government, which isn't possible for our family, but it bears further thought.

I do know I don't want to go back full time, or even four days a week, just yet.  Three days seems about right.  I'm not sure how well I can do my job in three days a week, frankly.  Does that mean I'll effectively end up working on my days with W or the weekend? Quite possibly.  That's not very attractive at all. 

Why all these mental gymnastics when there are still a few months to go? Well, I expect my boss will want to know at some point and I'll need to introduce the idea of part time work.  Plus, I probably need to get W on a daycare waitlist of some sort as well. Ah well, I'll keep considering.  

Friday, 8 January 2016

nearly six months later

Last night I slept without a bra on for the first time in months and woke up dry.  God, it felt good.  Old shit tit (lefty) did spring a leak when I was feeding W from the right this morning so, lesson learned, but if I can now sleep unfettered, I think I will be at least 50% less cranky in the morning.  Let it be so! cried her husband.

Body-wise, things are heading back to normal post-pregnancy and birth.  I mean, I'm still carrying some extra weight and a joey pouch on my front, but that's probably got a direct correlation with the fact I'm still eating like its my job.  True too that my boobs will never be the same (when they're empty I think they land somewhere south of their prebaby position). There's a scar from the episiotomy, but it's not big. Otherwise, I think my body has resumed the status quo (unfit, slightly pudgy, but generally operational and mine, all mine.)

I lost my marbles for a period postpartum. I don't think I had post natal depression - we were on the look out for that given other events in my life last year - but I was certainly fucked up by the postpartum hormone cocktail for a while. Not all bad, the rush of love and elation that is magnified by hormones still lingers with me. However, there was some Craziness, with a solid dose of Barely Holding Shit Together for a bit there. By way of example, breakfast related rage was notable (WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE'RE OUT OF YOGHURT), as was my inability to deal with my MiL (who was nothing but helpful, I should say, but I was so on edge that I thought everything could be a criticism and I had this perverse 'I'll do it myself' thing going on).

W is now eating three solid meals a day and I'm feeding him five times.  He sleeps from 6ish to 6ish (he'd like to get up earlier in the morning, the fink, but ain't no one got time for wake up calls that begin with a five.)  He naps three times a day, around 40 minutes a time (utterly inadequate, says his mother who treasures naps of longer than an hour like water in a desert). He has been rolling front to back for quite a while but has shown basically no interest in rolling back to front.  I mean, he has us minions at his beck and call for toy retrieval and entertainment, so why bother? I think sitting up unaided is reasonably close, though it's made harder by his large head (91st percentile for noggin, huuuuuuge). He weighs as much as a small dump truck (approx. 8kgs) and is a very tall baby (69cm in early December). We have packed away the bassinet and the capsule (sob, passage of time, where's mah tiny baybee gone etc).

He's freaking adorable. Highly recommend having a baby, if you think you'd be into it.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

a new year

Welcome to 2016, everyone.  

I'm starting out a new year on the right foot by being an asshole to my husband (I believe my eyes just rolled right back into my head and I exhaled all of the air in my lungs, heavily, because he dared comment on the fact the carrots were probably boiling dry.  The carrots were, in fact, boiling dry). But assholery aside, I'm hoping 2016 isn't too bad, because 2015 was a bit of a shitbag, frankly.

We survived Christmas, you'll be pleased to know.  It was better than I expected it to be.  Leaving Mum on her own a couple of days ago was the hard part and I've been in a bit of a funk since we got home.

We also survived a five and a half hour drive each way with the Fink, too. Caught up with old friends and their delicious little baby girl on the way down, and ate lunch by Lake Taupo on the way back.  I breastfed in the backseat parked on the side of the road on at least three occasions.  Notably, we pulled over once next to another car on a roadside verge near some foals. One of the female occupants was heaving her guts onto the roadside, poor lass.  I felt her pain, having only just recovered from a bout of food poisoning that had me biffing my bikkies for a while -- triggered on one occasion by W's selfish desire to eat from his main food source.  (Babies, man, they're dependent).  I wistfully wondered whether it was a hangover that had her spewing bile on the pastoral scene. I wasn't  envious exactly, but remembering the ghosts of hangovers past on summer holidays, preceded by ruckus and general misbehaviour. 

I spent the whole day at home yesterday, lawn mowing and clearing out, bathing W alfresco under the sun umbrella, snipping lavender heads, boiling spinach and potatoes and carrots for the baby. The baby has taken to solid food with relish, by the by.  He can house a banana in under 10 minutes and go looking for the rider, or peel, or something. It was nice to be home, despite the funk and though I've been shadowed by the cats at all times.  I wonder sometimes if I'll ever be alone again.  

Anyway, here's to 2016. What to expect? Raising a baby, then a toddler.  A return to work at some point, I guess.  A few more trips to be with family.  Supporting P's push for the next step in his career.  We hadn't forward planned anything much, honestly, not knowing what 2016 was going to hold for Dad for a long time.  2016 stretches open ahead of us.